PHARR, RGV – The City of Pharr and the Rio Grande Valley Partnership hosted a reception for local legislators at the Pharr Economic Development offices on Tuesday evening.
State Sens. Eddie Lucio and Juan ‘Chuy’ Hinojosa and state Reps. Armando ‘Mando’ Martinez and Sergio Muñoz gave a brief overview of how the 84th legislative session went, from a Valley perspective. Each said it was a great session for the Valley.
Some of the other legislators from the Valley sent staff members to speak on their behalf.
PharrLIFE, an online news portal run by the City of Pharr, has a video of the reception. Click here to watch the video.
“We had a great session, a lot better than many people expected. We had new leadership in our state, a new governor, Abbott, a new lieutenant governor, Patrick, and 11 new senators. But, it was really an amazing session because it was one of our most successful sessions ever, that I can recall,” Sen. Hinojosa told the audience.
“Last session we created the medical school but this session we funded the medical school over $63 million, working together as a delegation, working together as a community.”
State Sen. Eddie Lucio said the Valley delegation worked together. “We were able to communicate the things that you have been talking to us about,” Lucio said to the audience. “I think we should be working bipartisan, not only in Austin but here in the Valley to be able to put together the kind of plan that we need to make a difference in the Valley.”
Pharr Mayor Ambrosio ‘Amos’ Hernandez said the Valley legislators deserve praise. “We are so proud to have you guys back. We know it was a tough legislative session. It appeared we were not going to get much out of it for the Rio Grande Valley but we actually got quite a bit.”
Hernandez also gave a shout out to Lt. Gov. Patrick. “Dan Patrick, I spoke to him personally. He assured us he was absolutely committed to education. He did, absolutely, come through. He committed $53 million in new funds to expand graduate medical education in the state.” Hernandez, a physician, said graduate medical education is “crucial” to the Valley. “This is a pipeline to have physicians train and be here. We know 85 percent of residents that train here will stay in the community.”
Rep. Martinez joked that he saw so much of Pharr’s governmental affairs director, Sergio Contreras, at the state Capitol during the legislative session that he thought he was a legislator. “He was working hard on the legislative issues for his area,” Martinez said.
Community leaders from all four counties in the Valley were present at the reception.
On Thursday, June 25, there will be another opportunity to hear from state lawmakers about how the 84th Legislature went. The Texas Border Coalition is including a “Border Legislators Panel Discussion” as part of its summer meeting on South Padre Island. The luncheon event is being held at the El Jefe Room at the Schlitterbahn Beach Resort, 33261 State Park Road 100. It was to be held at the IBC Bank on South Padre but the venue has been changed due to an expected large turnout. It starts at 12 noon and concludes at 1:30 p.m. To RSVP call 512-744-0044.
Another legislative wrap up event is being held on July 15. It is to be hosted by the RGV Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. As in other years it is being titled the “Legislative Report Card Luncheon.” It will take place at The Club at Cimarron in Mission.
Editor’s Note: The main photo accompanying this story was taken by Ismael ‘Smiley’ Garcia.